Secondary Years - Grades 6 to 12 (Age 11-17)

Photo of GEMS World Academy (Singapore)'s Grade 11 students facing the camera

GEMS World Academy (Singapore) is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for the Middle Years Programme (MYP) & Diploma Programme (DP).

GEMS Singapore is commitmented to high quality, challenging, international education that we believe is important for our students.

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Turning students into creative, critical and reflective thinkers

The IB MYP is a purpose built five year programme (Grades 6-10) which provides a framework and assessment model for connecting pedagogical practices and content to the world beyond the classroom through the contextualisation of subject content and development of individual traits.

The IB MYP offers a broad balance of subjects, allowing students to see knowledge as an interconnected whole and it places the student directly at the centre of the learning process.

The programme also engages students with the community around them through involvement in Service as Action activities and in Grade 10 all students undertake the MYP Personal Project in which they undertake a sustained, self-directed independent piece of work.

Framework of study

myp modelOur international Secondary Years programme is significantly different in teaching and learning from many traditional national curricula. Therefore, it is essential that parents, as well as students, understand the major concepts upon which it is built.

Every student undertakes study within eight subject groups, ensuring that they access a balanced curriculum. GEMS World Academy (Singapore) delivers a balanced curriculum, with all subject groups having 3 x 1 hour periods per week.

The remaining 25th class hour is used weekly for assemblies, health and social education, as well as community and service initiatives.

The Secondary Years curriculum goes beyond simply transmitting a specific body of knowledge. There is a concurrent focus placed on understanding concepts, building skills and developing student attitudes.

This is essential to encourage higher thinking, which is invaluable to generate new ideas, conclusions and connections.

A concept is a big idea—something that is enduring. Concepts represent ways for students’ inquiry into issues and ideas of personal, local and global significance, providing the mechanism by which a subject can be explored. The MYP identifies prescribed key concepts and related concepts.

A concept-based model is used in the MYP to encourage students to process factual knowledge at a deeper intellectual level, create personal relevance and achieve higher levels of critical, creative and conceptual thinking.

The MYP is organised around six themes or perspectives called Global Contexts which are designed to encourage students to make connections between the real world and classroom learning. The Global Contexts inspire explorations of our common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet and they invite reflection on local, national and global communities that are relevant to our students.

Throughout the MYP all students participate in service-based activities which provide benefits for the communities they work with.

GEMS World Academy (Singapore) provides opportunities to be involved in a range of service activities both within and outside of the school, but students are also encouraged to initiate their own Service as Action opportunities to develop their individual interests.

Students keep a portfolio of evidence and write reflections on their progress through the year.

The MYP Personal Project (PP) is a student driven, independent piece of work completed over an extended period of time by every student in Grade 10.

Project topics should reflect a student’s personal interests and use a Global Context to direct the investigation.

Students work to complete the PP through making of a ‘product’, (for example a model, demonstration, or website) and also complete a report in which they detail how they engaged with the task of completing the project and reflect on the process, the outcome, and themselves as learners.


Photo of GEMS World Academy (Singapore)'s secondary years students having science classThrough the implementation of the Middle Years programme, we are working to deliver units of study that provide a well-rounded framework for our students to develop 21st century skills needed to be college and career ready.

The focus of our instruction includes:

Hoslistic Learning Student Inquiry

The IB MYP at GEMS World Academy (Singapore) exposes students to a balanced curriculum where many different subjects, skills and experiences allow our students to see knowledge as an integrated whole. Our students develop the ability to make links between and beyond subjects and nurture transferable skills.


Our curriculum in the IB MYP seeks to shift the emphasis from teacher-led instruction to student-led learning where students develop an innate awareness of their own learning process and the skills required to foster life-long learning.


Student Collaboration Real-world Application

The ability to work effectively with others, whether face-to-face or through the multitude of technological platforms is a skill vital for our students. GEMS World Academy (Singapore) students will engage with a wide range of formats to develop skills of effective collaboration.


In a complex and rapidly changing world we are faced with a expansive and often bewildering array of choices. Curriculum content is framed in contexts which give our students the opportunity to explore real world issues and develop a growing awareness of their place in the world.

A focus on higher-order thinking skills engages students in critical analysis and evaluation to develop deeper appreciation of the opportunities and challenges of the present and future.

Intercultural Awareness Communication

Within an international setting, an essential aspect of our curriculum is that it is responsive to the differing perspectives and backgrounds of each of our individual students.

Through and appreciation of, and empathy towards others, our students also form their own international outlook and understanding of the world around them.

Our curriculum engages students in a wide variety of activities to develop effective communication skills.

From effective public speaking and debating to written and visual communication, students at GEMS World Academy (Singapore) develop the communication skills vital for their continuing success now and into the future.

Teaching Methods

We believe the most effective teaching and learning for this age group occurs when the course matter is:

  • Engaging, challenging, rigorous, relevant and significant
  • Collaborative
  • Appropriately supported with feedback
  • Understood and accommodated for students with diverse needs
  • Structured so students feel secure that their ideas are valued and respected
  • Supportive of the development of new thoughts, ideas and connections between other disciplines – the interdisciplinary approach

For more information on MYP assessment, click here.

Course Overview

Grade Level Subject Areas Method of Delivery Maximum Teacher:
Student Ratio
Annual Contact Hours Course Duration (months)
Grade 6 to 10
  • Language and Literature (English)
  • Language Acquisition: Spanish, Mandarin, French or English Support Programme
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Arts: Drama, Visual Art, Music
  • Design
  • Physical and Health Education
  • Face-to-face
  • 9am to 3.30pm
  • Full-time
1:24 925 9.3 months

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IGCSE programmes

Cambridge International SchoolThe IGCSE is the world’s most popular international qualification for 14 to 16 year olds. It is recognised by leading universities and employers worldwide, and is an international passport to progression and success.

In Grade 9 & 10 students study subject content under the MYP framework and are able to undertake Cambridge IGCSE examinations at the end of Grade 10.

The MYP provides the ‘how’; how we teach and how we learn, and the IGCSE provides the ‘what’; giving the content to underpin the MYP units of study, ensuring a holistic learning experience for students throughout the two years.

At the end of Grade 10 all students are able to take IGCSE examinations in each of the subjects that they have studied over the two years.

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Preparing students for success in further education as Global Citizens

dp modelThe IB Diploma Programme (DP) is an academically demanding and balanced programme of education that helps prepare students for success at university and life beyond.

The IB Diploma Programme encompasses an in-depth study of six major subjects;

  • three subjects at Higher Level (HL) (240 teaching hours)
  • three subjects at Standard Level (SL) (150 teaching hours)

This allows students to pursue advanced work in subjects of particular interest while maintaining a broad and balanced education.

The sixth subject may be an arts subject chosen from group 6, or the student may choose another subject from groups 1 to 5.

Course duration (months): 9.3 months

In addition to the six required courses, candidates for the DP take a course in Theory of Knowledge, write a 4000-word Extended Essay, and complete a Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) programme.

DP Students who successfully complete two Language A courses can be awarded a Bilingual Diploma.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Subjects

GEMS Singapore Diploma students select courses from the following subject groups to fulfil IB programme requirements and GEMS Singapore graduation requirements.

DP students must choose one course from each of five subject groups delivering a breadth of knowledge and understanding in their best language, additional language(s), individuals and societies, the sciences and mathematics.

Furthermore, students must also choose either an arts course from the arts group or a second course from one of the other subject groups.

Group 1 – Language A Group 2 – Language Acquisition Group 3 – Individuals & Societies
  • English Literature SL/HL
  • English Language and Literature SL/HL
  • Language A Self taught SL
  • Chinese Literature SL/HL
  • French A SL/HL
  • Japanese A SL/HL


  • Mandarin Ab Initio SL
  • Spanish Ab Initio SL
  • French Ab Initio SL
  • Spanish B SL/HL
  • French B SL/HL
  • Chinese B SL/HL
  • English B SL/HL
  • History SL/HL
  • Economics SL/HL
  • Environmental Systems and Societies SL (Group 3 or 4)
  • Business Management SL/HL
Group 4 – Experimental Sciences Group 5 – Mathematics Group 6 – Arts and Electives
  • Biology SL/HL
  • Chemistry SL/HL
  • Physics SL/HL
  • Environmental Systems and Societies SL (Group 3 or 4)
  • Sports, exercise and health science SL/HL
  • Design Technology SL/HL
  • Mathematics HL
  • Mathematics SL
  • Mathematical Studies SL
  • Visual Arts SL/HL
  • Theatre SL/HL

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme Core

Photo of GEMS World Academy (Singapore)'s secondary years students having science classDuring the two year program, all students must undertake an Extended Essay, attend a Theory of Knowledge class and participate in Creativity, Activity and Service activities.

Students who do not complete the requirements of the programme core cannot be awarded an IB Diploma.

Theory of knowledge (TOK) is a course about critical thinking and inquiring into the process of knowing, rather than about learning a specific body of knowledge. TOK is a course centered around the question “How do we know” and encourages students to see the value of that question. It plays a special role in the DP by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge.

The extended essay is an independent, self directed piece of research, culminating in a 4000 word paper. Emphasis is placed on the research process, formulation of a research question, personal engagement and on communication of ideas and development of argument.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is at the heart of the DP, involving students in a range of activities that take place alongside their academic studies. Students are involved in a range of activities beyond the academic classroom .

The component’s three strands are characterised as follows:

  • Creativity—exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance. This may include visual and performing arts, digital design, writing, film, culinary arts and crafts.
  • Activity—physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle. Pursuits may include individual and team sports, dance, outdoor recreation, fitness training, and any other form of physical exertion that purposefully contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Service—community and social service activities.


Students take written examinations at the end of the programme which are marked by external IB examiners. Students also complete assessment tasks in the school which are either initially marked by teachers and then moderated by external moderators or sent directly to external examiners.

The marks awarded for each course range from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest). Students can also be awarded up to three additional points for their combined results on theory of knowledge and the extended essay.

The diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject to certain minimum levels of performance across the whole programme and to satisfactory participation in the creativity, activity, service requirement.

The highest total that a DP student can be awarded is 45 points.

For more information on DP assessment, click here.

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Secondary Years Brochure

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Phone: +65 6808 7300

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